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I was so pumped for this new Netflix series – until I saw who’s behind it

Published Sep 1st, 2020 3:46PM EDT
Game of Thrones
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  • David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who previously worked as showrunners for HBO’s Game of Thrones series, are now attached to a new book adaptation — this time for Netflix.
  • They’re bringing to fruition an adaptation of the celebrated Chinese sci-fi book series The Three-Body Problem.
  • The series is one of the most acclaimed works of fiction from China.

Netflix gave book-lovers a reason to celebrate on Tuesday, with news that the streamer has green-lit an adaptation of one of the most acclaimed science fiction series of all time. It’s The Three-Body Problem, a book series whose fans include some illustrious names you might have heard of, like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin, and President Barack Obama.Obama, in fact, once told The New York Times that the first book in the series was fun to read and made his squabbles with Congress seem small, by comparison. 

Joshua Rothman of The New Yorker, meanwhile, once referred to the series’ author Liu Cixin as “China’s Arthur C. Clarke.” All of which is to say, there’s an immense amount of prestige and fandom already attached to this adaptation that no doubt appealed to Netflix from the get-go. But what might give some book fans pause, however, are the names attached to the project who’ll be bringing it to fruition: None other than the controversial showrunners for HBO’s adaptation of the Game of Thrones books — David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.

“Since my earliest days at Netflix working on series like Black Mirror and Sense8, I’ve sought out stories and (points of view) that are singular,” Netflix Vice President of Original Series Drama Peter Friedlander said in a news release. “This story felt singular, special — and eminently relatable. That’s why I’m pleased to announce that the Hugo Award-winning The Three-Body Problem and its two sequels are coming to Netflix as a series.

“We have been granted the rights from The Three-Body Universe and Yoozoo Group to produce the English-language series adaptation and have assembled a talented and thoughtful creative team to do so. Every person involved not only shares a passion and high esteem for the books, but also the creative vision and ambition to help bring this remarkable story to life for audiences around the world.”

The creative team behind this adaptation includes writers and executive producers Benioff and Weiss, as well as Alexander Woo. Executive producers Rian Johnson (whose last film Knives Out I supremely enjoyed), as well as his producing partner Ram Bergman, are also attached. The books’ author, Cixin, is also working as a consulting partner herein alongside Ken Liu, who wrote the English translation for The Three-Body Problem and Death’s End.

Weiss and Benioff shared the following joint statement about their involvement in the project: “Liu Cixin’s trilogy is the most ambitious science-fiction series we’ve read, taking readers on a journey from the 1960s until the end of time, from life on our pale blue dot to the distant fringes of the universe. We look forward to spending the next years of our lives bringing this to life for audiences around the world.”

Let’s not forget, though, just how much baggage each of those Game of Thrones vets brings to this project. Once HBO’s hit series moved beyond the source material of Martin’s books for the final season, for example, to some people it revealed that the emperors have no clothes and showed Weiss and Benioff to be talentless hacks. So much so that the final season of Game of Thrones is regarded by some fans as one of the greatest disappointments in TV history. The final season of Thrones even sparked a massive wave of protests against the showrunners, with nearly two million fans having signed a petition asking HBO to remake the final season with more competent writers. We’ll see if the two chastened writers fare better this time around.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.